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MINUTES OF THE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE MEETING
HELD ON MONDAY 21st OCTOBER, 2003 AT 7.30 P.M.
IN THE COMMITTEE ROOM, MOOT HALL.
Amendments.

PRESENT: Chairman: Cllr. Mrs M. Curtis
Vice Chairman: Cllr. Mrs E. Downes
Councillors: T. Kelly, W. Prior and Mrs S. Riesebeck.
Representative:

In Attendance:
Mr S. MacPherson (Maldon & Heybridge Horticultural Society)

Cllrs. S. Savage and T. Shrimpton, the Town Clerk and Administrative Assistant
 37. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs. Mrs Foster, P. Roberts, P. Rew and K. Smith.
 38. MINUTES OF THE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 20TH AUGUST, 2002

RESOLVED: that the minutes of the Environment Committee meeting held on 20th August, 2002 be approved and signed as a correct record.
 39.

 39.1
ALLOTMENTS

Allotment Inspection

Members received and considered a report regarding an allotment inspection undertaken by Cllr. Mrs Foster and Mrs Good on Thursday, 3rd October 2002.

Maldon Hall

The site was found to be in good condition apart from a number of empty bottles and black bags which had been deposited to the rear of the garages by the gateway from the car park of the flats.

Plot Nos.
3a Uncultivated - Needs attention (letter sent last month regarding the condition of the plot - response received stating that they would try harder)

20b Weedy - Monitor (rent overdue - tenancy to be terminated on 9th November, 2002 if still unpaid)
26 Uncultivated but had been recently strimmed - Letter of enquiry to be sent
30a New tenant
30b New tenant
31 Weedy - Letter of enquiry to be sent
33b Weedy - Letter of enquiry to be sent
37a Weedy - Letter of enquiry to be sent - (rent overdue - tenancy to be terminated on 9th November, 2002 if still unpaid)
40 Weedy - Letter of enquiry to be sent - (rent overdue - tenancy to be terminated on 9th November, 2002 if still unpaid)
39a Uncultivated
39b Uncultivated

Mrs Good informed members that tenants had reported that the number of rubbish bags deposited to the rear of the garages had increased and that the rubbish now included household items which they felt had come from the flats.

Discussion ensued and it was felt that the Handyman should be requested to remove the bags but if the rubbish was unsuitable to be transported by car a quotation should be sought from the Ground Maintenance Contractor. It was also suggested that a letter be forwarded to the Plume Housing Association requesting that they make tenants aware that rubbish must not be dumped on the allotment site.

Warwick Crescent

Lift Approach overgrown, needs cutting
Hedge bordering the Lift Approach and the allotment site required to be trimmed

Plot Nos.
1a Uncultivated - Letter sent last month - suggest further letter should be sent - (rent overdue - tenancy to be terminated on 9th November, 2002 if still unpaid)

2a Uncultivated but recently strimmed - suggest plot be monitored

In response to a question, regarding the hedge bordering the Lift Approach, members were informed that tenants had complained that the hedge had grown to such a height that it was shading plots and needed to be reduced by approximately 2 metres. Members agreed that a quotation from the Ground Maintenance Contractor should be sought for the work.

Brickhouse Farm
Central Path required to be strimmed. Extremely untidy around boundary especially near to gate where stones and vegetation were stacked to be put in the skip. It was noted that weeds were beginning to grow in the recently planted boundary hedge.

It was also noted that a bench had been installed by Mr. Clements for the use of tenants.

Plot Nos
. 1 Weedy - monitor
6 Very weedy - Letter of enquiry to be sent - (Letter received from tenant stating that he had been unwell but was now receiving new treatment and intended to continue to cultivate his plot)

8 Weedy - Letter of enquiry to be sent

In response to a question regarding the weedy condition of the boundary hedge members were informed that the Contractor, who had planted the hedge, would be contacted as they were responsible for maintenance during the first year of planting and would also replace any dead plants.

RESOLVED: that (a) the rubbish from the rear of the garages at the Maldon Hall site be removed;

(b) Plume Housing Association be requested to advise tenants of the Spital Road flats that rubbish must not be dumped on the Maldon Hall allotment site;

(c) a quotation be sought from the Ground Maintenance Contractor to cut the boundary hedge between the Warwick Crescent allotment site and the Lift Approach;

(d) the Contractor who installed the Brickhouse Farm boundary hedge be contacted and requested to inspect, replace any dead plants and remove weeds from the boundary hedge;

(e) the appropriate action be taken regarding uncultivated plots, as detailed above;

(f) in all other respects the report be noted.

 39.2 Financial Statement of Account

Members received a report indicating that £10,177.93 remained in the allotment account this financial year. It was noted that the invoice was still awaited in respect of the installation of four additional water tanks at the Maldon Hall site.

RESOLVED: that the financial report be noted.
 39.3 Maldon Hall - Plots 39a and 39b

Further to minute 30.6 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 20th August, 2002 members received and considered a report regarding possible improvements to plots 39a and 39b at the Maldon Hall allotment site. It was noted that for many years these plots had been in an extremely overgrown condition and that prospective tenants had not wished to rent these plots because of the poor condition of the soil. Members were informed that in 1994 hardcore had been deposited on these plots with the intention to provide a turning area for cars but since this time no further action had been taken and the plots had deteriorated to their current poor condition.

In this respect members considered the following options:

· The plots be treated with a weedkiller - quotation from the Parks Department, Maldon District Council in the sum of £40.00 plus VAT per treatment - and left for allotment cultivation (further treatments may be required in the spring to prevent re-growth from seeds)

· A weed suppressing membrane be laid over the area (this would not prevent the re-growth of weeds unless the area had previously been treated with weedkiller)

· Use a blow torch (possibly hazardous to adjacent woodland)

· The area be treated with weedkiller (£40.00 plus VAT) and then flattened and used as a turning area for cars (£176.25)

Members noted that other than these two plots there was currently only one vacant plot at the site, although four tenants had not yet renewed their tenancy.

Discussion ensued and concern was expressed regarding the possible loss of allotment plots and members agreed that this matter should be deferred until the next meeting to enable members to visit the site.

RESOLVED: that the matter be deferred until the meeting to be held on 18th November, 2002.
 39.4 Warwick Crescent

Further to minute 30.1 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 20th August, 2002 members received and considered a quotation from the Parks Supervisor, Maldon District Council in the sum of £95.00 to trim the rear boundary hedge at the Warwick Crescent site. Members recalled that the Handyman had been unable to undertake this task due to the height of the hedge.

RESOLVED: that the quotation from the Parks Supervisor, Maldon District Council in the sum of £95.00 to trim the rear boundary hedge be approved.
 39.5 Amendment to Tenancy Agreement

Further to minute 30.5 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 20th August, 2002 members received and considered a sample copy of an Allotment Tenancy Agreement from the National Association of Local Councils (NALC).

The view was expressed that item 5(d) regarding dogs should be deleted as signs stating no dogs were already displayed at the sites.

Members noted that the format of this tenancy agreement and rules would be adapted to include terms specific to the Town Council such as contained in minute 30.5 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 20th August, 2002.

RESOLVED: that the sample Allotment Tenancy Agreement and Rules from NALC be adapted and submitted to the Environment Committee meeting to be held on 18th November, 2002.
 40. ST. PETER'S CHURCHYARD - TREE WORK

Further to minute 31.1(a) of the Environment Committee meeting held on 20th August, 2002 members received and considered a revised quotation from RBS Tree Surgery in the sum of £860.00 plus VAT to undertake work to trees in St. Peter's Churchyard. It was noted that the increase in the quotation price had arisen because the machinery, originally intended to be used to undertake the work, was now unable to access the churchyard due to the re-installation of the railings at the top of Market Hill; additional time would now be required to clear the arisings from the site. Members recalled that at the meeting held on 30th April, 2002 quotations had been considered and the quotation from RBS Tree Surgery had been approved (minute 95.5 refers).

RESOLVED: that the quotation from RBS Tree Surgery in the sum of £860.00 plus VAT for work to trees in St. Peter's Churchyard be approved.
(Local Government Act 1972 s215)
 41. PRIMROSE MEADOW

Further to minute 36 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 20th August 2002 members received a response from Mr M. Cook, Planning Consultant, Maldon District Council regarding Primrose Meadow, Mundon Road, Maldon which stated that at the special meeting of the Planning and Licensing Committee held on 12th September, 2002 it was resolved to recommend to a meeting of the Full District Council that the allocation of Primrose Meadow be formally retained as playing pitches.

RESOLVED: that the response be noted.
 42. DOG FOULING

Further to minute 27.3 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 15th July, 2002 members received a response from Martin Walker, Environmental Protection Team Leader, Maldon District Council regarding dog fouling in Maldon. The response stated that during the last twelve months seventeen complaints or requests relating to dog fouling specifically within Maldon town had been received. The letter also indicated that current Council Policy was for Town and Parish Councils to fund the provision of dog bins which the District Council would empty.

Cllr. Mrs Downes expressed her amazement that only seventeen complaints had been received in the Maldon town as she had personally made several complaints to the District Council regarding dog fouling problems in areas including the Lift Footpath, King Street and Manse Chase. To date she had received no response from the District Council or observed any improvement in the condition of these areas.

It was suggested that a letter should be forwarded to the Maldon District Council to ascertain what action was taken when a complaint was received regarding dog fouling.

Reference was made to the fact that the Poets' Estate Residents' Association had enquired if the Town Council would provide bins at various locations on the Poets' Estate. Discussion ensued during which reference was made to the fact that some dog bins had recently been set on fire. Members were of the opinion that the Residents' Association should be informed that if they provide bins the District Council would empty them.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) a letter be forwarded to the Maldon District Council enquiring what action was taken when a complaint regarding dog fouling was received;

(b) the Poet's Estate Residents' Association be informed that the District Council will empty dog bins if they provide them;

(c) the Town Council supply no additional dog bins.
 43. OPEN SPACES AND GREENSWARDS

Further to minute 48 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 10th October, 2001 and the letter of the Town Clerk dated 6th September, 2002 requesting members views regarding particular open spaces and greenswards within the town which would benefit and enhance the environment if they were adopted and maintained by the Town Council. In this respect, members were informed that a response had been received suggesting that Primrose Meadow would benefit from being adopted by the Town Council.

Discussion ensued and it was felt that as the District Council were proposing that the allocation of Primrose Meadow should be formally retained as playing pitches other areas should be considered.

Cllr. Mrs Riesebeck suggested that a triangular area of land along Footpath No. 1, at the end of Essex Road, could be greatly enhanced if planted and maintained by the Town Council.

Cllr. Kelly felt that the enhancement of the pond located at the Wycke Hill Business Park would be a beneficial project for the Town Council to support and would ensure the protection of the pond from any future development.

The Chairman suggested that the Maldon in Bloom Working Party be informed of the location of the pond and the possibility of it becoming a long term project for the Working Party to support.

In response to a question, the Town Clerk stated that the greensward between Cross Road and Fambridge Road was to be planted with spring bulbs.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) investigations be undertaken regarding the Town Council maintaining and enhancing the triangular area of land on Footpath No. 1 in the vicinity of the end of Essex Road;

(b) the Maldon in Bloom Working Party consider undertaking the enhancement of the pond located on the Wycke Hill Business Park as a long term project.
 44. PARISH TREES AND BULBS

Members received and considered a letter from David Taylor, Parks Team Leader, Maldon District Council regarding the Parish Tree Planting Scheme and considered locations within the town where trees and bulbs could be planted.

Members recalled that it had been agreed at the Environment Committee meeting held on 30th April, 2002 that the Poets' Estate Residents' Association should be approached regarding suggested locations for tree and bulb planting (minute 97.2) and in this respect members received and considered a response from the Association.

The Town Clerk informed members that the trees included in the scheme were native hardwoods such as oak, beech, field maple and wild cherry which would grow to a considerable size and may not be suitable for planting in residential areas.

Discussion ensued and it was agreed that the Town Council should apply for its full allocation of trees and bulbs from the scheme and when the quantity was known consideration be given as to suitable planting locations.

Cllr. Mrs Riesebeck reported that a number of trees had been damaged / removed in the Family Wood, West Maldon Community Centre and it was agreed that this information should be forwarded to the Maldon District Council as the responsible authority for this area.

The view was expressed that it would be desirable for bulbs to be planted alongside the by-pass.

RESOLVED: that (a) the Town Council apply for its full allocation of trees and bulbs from the Maldon District Council Parish Trees and Bulbs Scheme and a decision regarding planting be made when information regarding the quantity of trees and bulbs has been received;

(b) a letter be forwarded to the Maldon District Council enquiring as to the replacement of the trees in the Family Wood, West Maldon Community Centre.
 45. ANNUAL TREE SURVEY

Members received and considered:

(i) a letter from the Parks Supervisor, Maldon District Council regarding the Annual Tree Survey of trees growing on land which was the responsibility of the Town Council;

(ii) a quotation from the Parks Supervisor, Maldon District Council to undertake the tree work detailed in the Annual Tree Survey.

In response to a question the Town Clerk informed members that the Town Council were responsible for a small seating area in Butt Lane.

Reference was made to the necessity to remove the trees from the island within the Ware Pond but it was reported that in the past there had been water quality problems from falling leaves.

It was suggested that the view of the Tree Officer, Maldon District Council should be sought regarding the removal of trees in St. Mary's Churchyard as it was felt that this may increase the problems caused by surface water running through the churchyard on to Hythe Quay.

The Chairman expressed the view that it may be necessary to undertake the work over a two year period. She suggested that the Parks Supervisor be approached to ascertain which work detailed in the Annual Tree Survey should take priority. It was suggested that quotations be sought in respect of the work to be undertaken by a Tree Surgeon as detailed in the report.

The Town Clerk advised that some funding was still available in Estimates for tree work but she would investigate this matter.

RESOLVED: that (a) the views of the Tree Officer, Maldon District Council to sought regarding work to trees in St. Mary's Churchyard;

(b) quotations be sought for the tree surgery detailed in the Annual Tree Survey;

(c) the Parks Supervisor be requested to prioritise the tree work detailed in the Annual Tree Survey.
 46. GRASS CUTTING - POET'S ESTATE

Members received and considered a letter from the Poets' Estate Residents' Association requesting that the Town Council considers providing an additional cut of the grass verges and open spaces on the Poets' Estate during the month of August as these areas became overgrown. Members viewed photographs which highlighted particular areas of concern within the Poets' Estate.

In this respect members received and considered a quotation from the Ground Maintenance Contractor for the additional grass cutting of amenity areas.

Discussion ensued and members felt that an additional cut was not necessary as the longer grass allowed wildlife such as butterflies to inhabit the areas. It was suggested that bulbs could be planted in some of the areas to enhance the Estate.

RECOMMENDED: that no action be taken regarding additional grass cutting of the grass verges and open spaces on the Poets' Estate during August and the situation be monitored.
 47. ESSEX, SOUTHEND & THURROCK WASTE MANAGEMENT STRATEGY
CONSULTATION

Members received and considered a letter from the War on Waste Consultation, Waste Management Advisory Board for Essex, Southend and Thurrock regarding waste management and members were informed that a copy of the Public Consultation document was available for inspection.

Discussion ensued and it was

RECOMMENDED: that (a) the Chairman complete the questionnaire regarding Waste Management on behalf of the Town Council,

(b) the content of the letter be noted.
 48. MALDON IN BLOOM

Members received and considered the Notes of the Maldon in Bloom Working Party meeting held on 2nd October, 2002.

Cllr. Savage, as Vice Chairman of the Working Party, informed members that the Working Party hoped to organise both Spring and Summer "In Bloom" competitions next year as a response to remarks made by the judges of this year's competition. Cllr. Savage also said that the town was marked down for its lack of a suitable school project and wildlife conservation project and the Working Party hoped to encourage schools to participate in next year's competition.

The Chairman said that she had reservations regarding members of the Maldon in Bloom Working Party visiting local schools because, as a School Governor, she was aware that schools were currently under extreme pressure. She felt that the diplomatic way forward would be to initially approach the schools and wait to see if a response was received. It was suggested that it might be better to contact the Brownies, Guides, Scouts, and Cubs and Cllr Mrs Downes said that in past years these groups had been contacted and been involved in the "In Bloom" competition.

In response to a question the Town Clerk said that approximately 6000 leaflets and 100 stickers would be required.

It was also suggested that the approach to Charter House, Wantz Road could do with some attention to improve its appearance and it was suggested that the Plume Housing Association be contacted regarding this matter.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) local schools be initially approached prior to visits being made by representatives of the Maldon in Bloom Working Party;

(b) the Brownies, Guides, Scouts and Cub packs be contacted about the "In Bloom" competition;

(c) the Plume Housing Association be contacted regarding improvements to the approach of Charter House, Wantz Road.

(d) in all other respects the Notes be approved.
 49.

 49.1
ST. PETER'S CHURCHYARD

Improvements

Further to minute 31.1 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 20th August, 2002, members received and considered a report detailing the response from Sarah Green, Senior Landscape Architect, Essex County Council (ECC) to the Town Council's comments in respect of the specification for improvements to St. Peter's Churchyard.

Members noted from the report that investigations were required to consider the type of lighting to be used in the churchyard. Members recalled that it had initially been felt that it would be beneficial for any lighting fitments to be installed on the Plume Building or St. Peter's Tower to help deter vandalism. It was suggested that firms mentioned in the literature received from Sarah Greene, be approached for their suggestions and quotations regarding lighting for the area and a Working Party comprising of Cllrs. Mrs Curtis, Prior and Savage consider the specifications and report back to a future meeting of the Environment Committee.

Members considered the revised specification from the ECC and agreed that tenders should be obtained to enable grant applications to be submitted for funding of the project.

Discussion ensued regarding the possibility of a diagonal path being included across the rear of the churchyard. It was noted from Sarah Greene's report that she that was not in favour of this suggestion as the excavations for an additional path may disturb graves located in this area. It was agreed that a copy of the site plan be forwarded to members so that the grave stones can be identified and a suggested diagonal pathway indicated.

Cllr. Shrimpton expressed the view that the large Ivy in the corner of the Millennium Garden should be retained as it provided an excellent habitat where bees and butterflies could hibernate.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) tenders be sought for improvements to St. Peter's Churchyard as detailed in the revised specification;

(b) Cllrs. Mrs Curtis, Prior and Savage form a Working Party to investigate lighting schemes for St. Peter's Churchyard once specifications have been received;

(c) a copy of the site plan be forwarded to members to enable the gravestones to be identified and a suggested diagonal pathway indicated;

(d ) the ivy in the corner of the Millennium Garden be retained.
 49.2 Victorian Evenings 2002

Members received and considered a letter from the Maldon Chamber of Trade and Commerce requesting permission for the installation of a garden awning in St. Peter's Churchyard for the Working Newfoundland Dogs Association on 12th December, 2002, the second Victorian Evening.

The Town Clerk informed members that an additional request had also been received from the Maldon Chamber of Trade and Commerce for permission to install a small scaffolding over the seating area under the Holm Oak.

RECOMMENDED: that the Town Council have no objection to the Maldon Chamber of Trade and Commerce installing a garden awning for Working Newfoundland Dogs in St. Peter's Churchyard on 12th December, 2002 and for the erection of scaffolding over the seating area under the Holm Oak for both Victorian Evenings, on the same condition as in previous years.
 50. CONTRACT MONITORING - MALDON DISTRICT COUNCIL

Members received and considered a letter from the Contract Monitoring Officer, Maldon District Council regarding Environmental Services managed by Maldon District Council and considered a response to the questionnaire.

Concern was expressed regarding damage caused to cars by large Onyx refuse lorries collecting refuse in narrow roads such as King Street and Manse Chase and it was felt that it would be beneficial for smaller vehicles to be used in such areas.

The view was expressed that the Maldon District Council should continue to encourage its re-cycling facilities and should extend doorstep recycling collections for items including glass and plastics.

It was agreed that the Town Clerk should complete the questionnaire including the above comments on behalf of the Town Council.

RECOMMENDED: that (a) the Town Clerk complete the Contract Monitoring questionnaire on behalf of the Town Council;

(b) the letter from the Contract Monitoring Officer, Maldon District Council be noted.
 51. LONGSHIP WAY - FELLED OAK TREE

Further to minute 99 of the Environment Committee meeting held on 30th April, 2002, members recalled that it was agreed that the felled oak tree stump should be left in situ on the Longship Way amenity area. In this respect members received and considered letters from two residents of Longship Way expressing their concern regarding the oak tree stump and requesting that it be removed due to the disturbance and rubbish caused by children congregating at the oak tree stump.

Discussion ensued and in view of the fact that Cllr. Prior had to leave the meeting, the Chairman deferred further discussion regarding this item until the Environment Committee meeting to be held on 18th November, 2002.

RECOMMENDED: that the matter be deferred until the Environment Committee meeting to be held on 18th November, 2002 along with agenda item no. 16 - Parish Paths Partnership.
Cllr. Prior left the meeting at 9.05 p.m.; the meeting became un-quorate and no further discussion took place.
  . The meeting closed at 9.05 p.m.

Councillor Mrs M. Curtis
Chairman

Signed………………………………..… Date……………………………….



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